28 January 2017

When I Think of Today


There are a few times that I look at my life as if I were an outsider reading a romantic novel about myself. I feel as if I'm looking back on my life from 50 years in the future and seeing how "simple" and perfect my life {now} truly is. In that fleeting moment of overwhelming nostalgia I feel complete rest. A slight peaceful smile comes over my face like the smile that graces one whos soul has been winged away to heaven. In that moment, my eyes are caught up in a mesmerized stare -- fixed on something far away, something intangible.

In an effort to capture one of those moments, let me share the events of the day. Nevermind, I'm a woman... I should say "let me share my emotions of the day!" Bwahaha! 😜

Saturday, January 28th, 2017

I woke up a little after 5am this morning to the first ringing of my alarm. I am always extraordinarily responsive to my alarm when I'm sleeping in a strange bed.  I sent a "good morning" text to my boyfriend and crawled out of bed to get around for the journey. I was staying with a sweet Sister from church who lives just a few miles from Kansas City Union Station where I'd be taking the train all the way in to West Virginia.


She dropped me off there with plenty of time to kill... so I began walking around in the great hall of the station to fulfill two of my latest nerdy obsessions. One involves the Fitbit my boss let me borrow for the month to keep track of my steps for a health contest at work. I have been oddly excited to walk (of all things) these last few days and find myself excitedly checking to see how I've progressed. 😜🙄 Secondly, I was wearing my backpacking pack weighing 40 lbs. and wheeling a suitcase weighing 50 lbs. So with a sly smile on my face I was happy to have a chance to walk with some weight on my back to keep myself used to carrying the pack. I only lasted a few rounds around the hall before I dumped my luggage off in a corner 😂 But it still reminds me of the goal I have to go on a backpacking trip again this year, and that makes me happy! :)


After walking for close to an hour, I went to the counter and got my ticket. They informed me that the train was a little late creating even moooorrreee time to kill, and I was very becoming extremely anxious!!! Mostly from knowing that Tyrel and all my friends would be up on the mountain snowboarding today, and I was not quite so fortunate to be with them. In a long distance relationship, it's always the most defeated, lonely feeling to know that your boyfriend is smiling and laughing and enjoying some event or activity with friends or family. Simply because I long to be there to interact! (Not because I wish he wasn't enjoying himself, trust me... I'm not thaaattt jealous! 😜) I knew that I must start counting my blessings soon or I might end up slumping down in the corner somewhere giving way to a good cry. But even as I thought that, I wondered if my first instinct to want to cry was just something I was thinking or if I really might start crying given an unguarded moment. I have found lately that I feel like crying at different times, but hardly ever actually cry. Hmm...Well, I went on and distracted myself with getting in line for the train and taking pictures of various things. Just passing time again, but a little more occupied. 

I had a little fun playing with some motion-blur...



Finally we were outside on the platform between the two departing trains, waiting in line to get our  destination written on a piece of paper to hang above our seat.
I only wish I was traveling with Tyrel. My mind is constantly adjusting from "my life" vs. what my life would be if we were together in that moment. I'm always taking a stab in the dark to think about what details around us he would be noticing in contrast to the way I look at life. He would notice the more technical, gritty details and I would be reminding him of how pretty it is outside, or how "comfortable" and cute the place is. So I stood there again in line looking at the mechanical parts of the train, trying to name them out in my head -- knowing good and well that Tyrel would know exactly what each thing was called... hehe.


After climbing aboard and freeing myself from my luggage, I found a seat beside a kind looking elderly man and sat down with my mind wondering "what on earth to do next". Oh right... "relax". 🙃 I text my sister to let her know the train was moving, to tell her how much I miss her and Brent and Tyrel and everyone else, and to tell her how I longed to just be there allllrrreeaddyyyy!!! 😌 In texting her, my eyes became moist, then a single tear ran down my cheek, then I was full-on crying. I was glad the man beside me was already reclined and taking a nap. I did think however, what would be rolling through the his mind if he did happen to notice. Would he look at me with compassion and wonder what was wrong? Or would he think, "Another emotional woman. They are always crying." 

Well, I guess I hadn't been proactive enough in counting my blessings to ward away those feelings, so I made it a point to do it right then. I  spent time in prayer and soon the lump in my throat went away, and I was just hoping with all my heart that Tyrel was enjoying his time with friends. I was happy then and had found a peace in reading and praying and bringing all my cares and anxieties to the Lord.

I left my spot and took off to reach the lounge car. Not because I necessarily wanted to leave my quiet seat, but because I was given instructions to take a video so a certain someone could see what it was like. 😉😊


The lounge car wasn't too terribly noisy though, and I found an open seat facing the sun that was rising over the empty, brown, winter country-side.

I sat down and looked far off at the rolling hills in the distance. In that moment I became lost to myself. Lost to the present and the feeling of living life. I had found a peaceful place that reminded me of how wonderful my life is. 
In two seconds I experienced my life through the eyes of some future generation hearing about the details and events of my life. Much in the same way I envisioned my Nanna's life when she would tell stories from her youth.
In that moment I was older and there was a sad twinge of realization that I no longer held the same sparkle and vivacity for living my own life. But I was telling the story of the beauty of life and encouraging others to see it in their own life.

"This young girl was traveling by train from Missouri to West Virginia. She was going alone, but her guy was always on her mind, and the anticipation of seeing him again after a long period apart was enough to keep her happy. She was also going to be there for the 1st birthday of her nephew -- the little guy who reminds her of the miracle of life and the complete joy and innocence of little children.
Her thoughts were filled with the excitement and anticipation of the all the great unknowns. Her life was simple and required very little to bring her complete joy. In a sense, she was still carefree as a child, who can in one moment be ruffled my some trifle disturbance, but is soon appeased and carries on with a smile."


Sigh. Then the moment is gone. Leaving me with a muddle of happy thoughts.

-MarLeahJoy

03 January 2017

2016 is OVER


Hmmm...  2016 was quite honestly a very long year for me. Not in negative way either - the year was great!
Maybe I'm not old enough yet, but time doesn't necessarily fly by for me like everyone else says it does. It seems like ages since my nephew was born last February. It seems just as long ago since I went to Hawaii in April. Visiting West Virginia in September could have a least been a year ago... ;P Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit, but this past year was very full and very different.

I have a video to share. Nothing extraordinary or crazy... Well, maybe it is crazy, maybe I am crazy. ;)
Click here... 2016 Countdown
And some random pictures that I pulled out of my archive as I was going through pictures recently. :D


Many lovely evenings spent on this bike :)


February in Oklahoma


Flight to Hawaii - April



Rainbow Falls, Hawaii



hiking the dessert in South Point, Hawaii


Green Sands, Hawaii


June - Sunday afternoon in Joplin


Fourth of July at my Aunt's house :)


West Virginia - September


Christmas Eve hike at home :)


Took a silhouette of my father taking a silhouette. ;)



May this new year be a delightful one for everyone :)
-MarLeahJoy


24 December 2016

Pre-Christmas Update


Well folks... we're getting closer! ;)

"Christmas, Christmas time is near,
Time for toys and time for cheer.
We've been good, but we can't last
Hurry Christmas, hurry fast."

Hehe, okay, that's not exactly my thoughts on Christmas, but that's the song that has been popping into my head lately.

This afternoon we got my parents and my siblings together on Skype to open some presents that we had sent each other. :D Yay! And I can't wait to Skype with Pintip from Thailand who stayed with us back in 2009 :) She sends us a huge package every year for Christmas, so we are going to open it with her on Skype this year. :)




Marvin and Ranelle got Daddy some California raisins packaged off his Uncle's farm. :) 



This gift from all of us to Momma is really the reason I wanted to Skype to open presents ;) 
Because Momma has this old mixer that she got as a wedding gift that STILL WORKS.  She's been waiting for it to quit working so she could get a pretty cobalt blue KitchenAid... We decided it was time to get her one anyway, even though the old one is still working quite well. :)



Merry Christmas Eve from our family in California, Missouri, and West Virginia :)

-MarLeahJoy




23 December 2016

Christmas Update


I've never had to "process" Christmas before like I have this year. It hasn't been a bad thing at all, but honestly in some ways it feels like Christmas is over since I've already celebrated with our extended family and with Tyrel. I keep reminding myself that Christmas is INDEED still coming up and that I should get the move-on with getting my presents wrapped. 

Also, not having any siblings home for Christmas has made me stop, think, and remind myself to focus on what we are doing here in this season. I can't just carry on and blend in with the traditions of Christmas like every other year, so I've been challenged in a few areas of giving my time and giving joy. 

I also had a "rude" reminder today that Christmas is near because people are rushing around and getting grumpy when things aren't going so fast. Most of our customers were actually pretty good today even though we were obviously busy with it being the last day open just before Christmas. But one rotten customer reminded me to keep my spirit up and not let the stress of things during Christmas rush to get me upset. I was at work, needing to leave to go to lunch, and buy some wrapping paper so I could go home and wrap up presents for my parents. Yet, I was stuck with a malfunctioning encoder, so I couldn't make out a money order for this increasingly impatient lady I was helping. Even with my back turned I could feel her eyes glaring at me for taking so long. 🙄 After a phone call from her equally put-out husband, he came inside and declared they would just go take their business elsewhere. 
So with that "happy" feeling 😬 I left for lunch and was about to go the store to pick up wrapping paper. I could imagine that the store would be busy, and the overflowing parking lot confirmed that assumption. So I decided before I went in, that I was NOT going to think about my grumpy customer I just waited on, but I was going to do my best to not be upset with people that may be "wasting" my time 😝

Hehe, the trip to the store was less trying than it could have been, and I made it home in time to wrap my gifts. As I was wrapping, I placed the finished gifts on my new hope chest... and ohhh they looked so cute and "matchy" up there. 😄
Plus, I like any extra reason to admire the chest Tyrel made me for Christmas. 😍

Isn't it just sooo pwetty!?!? ☺️




-MarLeahJoy

18 December 2016

Love Times Four


November 12th 2016 <3

My super fun, extremely sweet, and very bubbly Heather dear got married. ☺️😍

Her wedding made me a bridesmaid for the fourth time this year.
It also brought Tyrel and I together for the fourth time since we'd been dating. 
And when you're dating long-distance, those "mutual friend weddings" are kinda a big blessing. ;) Hehe

On the wedding day, it was easier to carry around my phone, so I took an overall video of the day... though I could kick myself for not giving my phone to someone during the wedding to take a few videos for me. So I've got everything but that! ;P Hahaha!

Here's the video: Kevin and Heather



Rehearsal night :)







Heather and Laura... just too cute! 





Heather and Makenna

It was fun getting to see M for the first time! I had heard lots about their weekly trips to Chick-fil-A. ;) ;) Such a cute, fun girl. :)

-MarLeahJoy

17 December 2016

Ranelle Kayleene


Flashback to Wednesday October 19th :)

This day was kinda crazy. No, actually the week was a little bit crazy. ;P Saturday, the day of Ranelle's wedding was quickly approaching and things just weren't exactly going in the order planned. 
We were going to take pictures of Ranelle with her two favorite sisters ;) on Monday evening. That didn't happen. And none of that happened on Tuesday either. 
Well, on Wednesday, before I left for work, I laid out my camera gear for Alyssa to use to take a few bridal pictures of Ranelle by the big bay window in the room that used to be hers. :)
I got a few calls at work from my stressed out family saying that my gear wasn't cooperating for them. It was a slow day at work, so I came home to find out that a wire in my flash transmitter had come loose, so nope, it wasn't going to cooperate. 
I went back to work and left it up to the tired bride-to-be and Alyssa to figure out. And Alyssa worked some magic with the natural lighting. :)











I'm still so happy for Ranelle, that she found the love of her life. :)

-MarLeahJoy


Fall Leaves

Flashback to Saturday, November 5th 

These are my favorite days. 
Spent outside with the cats pouncing on the pile of weeds you keep adding to.
The dog looking a little lazy and melancholy, but taking serious his job of guarding the place.
Sweeping leaves off the patio for the one-hundred and millionth time. 






We've been working on trying to make this hillside a little more manageable to maintain. So right now we are pulling weeds and hoping to plant some evergreens soon. :)


Normally I get a little mad at things if they immediately "mess themselves up" right after you fix it. You know... those things like the kitchen, that no matter how much you clean it, it's back to being messy in a few seconds. 
Andddd leaves... they kinda never end. But this Fall, it was almost like my favorite thing to do in my free time to keep the patio swept up. It kinda makes me feel a little old man that comes into the bank to exchange penny rolls for different ones - looking for old wheat pennies. Taking joy out of something that is redundant and fairly fruitless. 😂




-MarLeahJoy